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Dead Nation Ps3 Analysis Essay

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Twin-stick slaughter
By Colin Moriarty

It's hard not to appreciate a developer like Housemarque. In an industry where lots of studios lack consistency, Housemarque has it in droves. It outputs high quality, critically acclaimed and commercially successful products with regularity, such as PlayStation's Super Stardust series, the multi-platform side-scroller Outland, and PS4's best game, Resogun. The oft-overlooked Dead Nation also deserves to be in the conversation, and thankfully, its re-release on PlayStation Vita puts it back on the radar.

Dead Nation on Vita is pretty much identical to the Dead Nation that came to PlayStation 3 back in 2010 (in fact, if you own it on PS3, it's yours for free on PS Vita). It's the same addictive, difficult twin-stick shooter, though it lacks the built-in DLC that came with PlayStation 4's iteration of Dead Nation, which is disappointing. Vita's smaller analog sticks means controls aren't quite as tight as they are on PS3 and PS4, as well.

Thrust into a zombie-filled post-apocalyptic world, your task in Dead Nation is simple: survive another day. Survival requires you to work your way through an urban sprawl littered with the undead. With powerful weapons at your disposal -- think assault rifles, flamethrowers, and grenades -- you can get creative with how you kill your foes. Shoot them in the head with a powered-up rifle shot. Blast a nearby car to make its alarm go off, drawing their attention, allowing you to pick them off unawares. Throw a flare and watch them gather around it, then unleash a shot from your blade cannon, slicing them all in half. The possibilities are many.

Dead Nation does a wonderful job of playing with your emotions, flooding your screen with myriad enemies only to return glimmers of hope with access to plenty of firepower. Its beautiful lighting and use of shadows tend to make things even scarier by regularly obscuring your view while cleverly hiding nearby enemies. You may clear a street and backtrack to explore, only to walk past a decrepit 18-wheeler, where you find yourself assailed by a new wave of enemies. All may be quiet following a 5 minute-long firefight, but then you find out that it was just the first of four waves of enemies in that area. Dead Nation isn't only about shredding the undead; it's about surviving the seemingly impossible. This very setup makes getting through each subsequent stage, whether on your own or with a friend, ever more satisfying.

Making matters more dire, not all of the zombies you have to deal with are slow and dumb. Some of them run. Others take tons of damage to fell. And then there are the massive foes that can kill you in only one or two hits, enemies that can jump on top of you from across the screen, hulking zombies that can slice you in half with their sharpened arms, smaller, pesky zombies that can scream to call endless amounts of backup, and others that can shoot green liquid that stays on the ground, giving you nasty chemical burns. There's real diversity when it comes to Dead Nation's roster of enemies, and the further you get into the campaign, the more unexpected and dangerous the combination of zombies become. You'll often find that killing these stronger enemies is paramount, even if you're taking damage from the cannon fodder around you.

Evening things out a bit is Dead Nation's emphasis on upgrading and customization. Your standard assault rifle -- with unlimited ammunition -- will always be your fallback weapon, but eventually, you'll be able to add flamethrowers, rocket launchers, mines, and more to your arsenal. Better yet, each and every part of your arsenal can be upgraded using gold found during missions. Since not everything can be upgraded fully, you have to think carefully about how you spend your hard-earned loot. You'll also have to carefully consider how you equip the many pieces of armor you find, since speed, strength, and defense often come at the sake of one another.

All of this boils down not only to one good playthrough of Dead Nation, but many. You can chase Trophies and high scores, of course -- Dead Nation is a master of the metagame, with intricate worldwide leaderboards and granular stat-keeping that pool player stats by country -- but it's also fun to up the difficulty level, focus on upgrading different kinds of weapons, all the while using various pieces of armor. You can even play with your friends via ad hoc or online.

The Verdict

Dead Nation on PS Vita isn't as strong as it is on PS3 and PS4, but it's still a lot of fun to play. It's eerie and difficult, whether online with a friend or on your own in a dimly-lit room. Indeed, its mission-based structure and replayability make it a good fit on Sony's handheld.


Level 6 - Marrow Hospital

Armor: Before leaving the checkpoint, turn around. Go down the area and you'll see an armor crate near a giant container. Watch out for zombies.

1st Checkpoint
Cars - 6
Crates - 1
Armor - 1

Loot: Once your in the parking lot, take a right and go all the way up to the top right corner, you should see a crate hidden by a small tower.

2nd Checkpoint
Cars - 0
Crates - 8
Armor - 0

Loot: Go Left where you see the big green containers.
Loot: After arriving into the help camp, go all the way left. It's hidden by a shack.
Loot: After leaving the help camp, continue going straight all the way. You should see another help shack. To the right of it is a crate.
Loot: Go left from the last loot crate. You should see a ramp coming up. Do not go on it, instead head down to find a crate hidden by a dumpster.
Loot: After going over the ramp, the area will go dark, there are 4 here. One is in the middle, one to the left by the vending machine, one to the right by the barrier and the last one is in a small area to the right of the second checkpoint.

3rd Checkpoint
Cars - 10
Crates - 3
Armor - 0

Loot: Head straight then left, you'll see two crates.
Loot: In the gated area, go all the way to the top left corner of the place, you should find a narrow pathway with a crate at the end.

4th Checkpoint
Cars - 0
Crates - 5
Armor - 2

Loot: Leave the checkpoint and go left then around. You should be going down a long narrow pathway with a crate at the end. Watch out for zombies on the way back.
Loot: Continue on with the level until you see a ramp. Turn around to find a breakable gate, go down for 3 crates of loot. WARNING, you will be ambushed by a cutter here.
Armor: Same place as the loot above.
Loot: After going over the ramp and killing all the zombies, go right, you should find a blue crate hidden in the bottom corner.
Armor: STOP when you get to the level complete section. To your right should be a downed helicopter and a large patch of fire, rush through this fire to find armour.

Level 7 - Graveyard

Armor: Turn around from the checkpoint and go down, then right.
Loot: Go all the way down from the checkpoint, it's in the back of a truck. Watch for bombies on the right.

1st checkpoint
Cars - 7
Crates - 4
Armor - 1
Loot: Go to the right of the breakable gate that leads to the cemetery.

2nd Checkpoint
Cars - 0
Crates - 4
Armor - 1

Armor: Go left and hug the wall until you get to a small grave that has a breakable wall, destroy the wall and claim your armor.
Loot: From the checkpoint, go right. You should find a small shrine with a crate in it.
Loot: When you get to the ramp that leads to the 3rd checkpoint, above you should be a grave stone with a crate next to it.
Loot: From ramp the leads to the 3rd checkpoint, go down into a different area, you'll find two crates at the end of a small pathway.

3rd Checkpoint
Cars - 0
Crates - 6
Armor - 1

Loot: You should come across two crates under a shrine before you go over the ramp into the next area.
Loot: After destroying the wall, take a right then go down. You should fine a small area of graves with a Mouth waiting for you, the crate is next to him.
Armor: Near the last loot place, take a right after leaving and should find a church with a armour crate in front of it.
Loot: Opposite of the armour mentioned above.
Loot: Continue on the straight but keep an eye on the left side, you should see an open fence with a blue loot crate waiting for you, its by a bunch of angel statues.

4th Checkpoint
None.

Level 8 - The Trainyard

1st Checkpoint
Cars - 5
Crates - 1
Armor - 1

Loot: Leave the checkpoint, go straight, left, then another left. You should find a small area hidden between a semi truck with a crate at the end. It's inbetween the three cars and semi truck.
Armour: From the 2nd checkpoint, go left and around the semi truck(is that all people drive in this game?). You should find it in the corner, watch out for an ambush.

2nd Checkpoint
Cars - 0
Crates - 2
Armor - 1

Loot: Right after leaving, take a right, it's down the path.
Armor: After hitting the switch, the machine will tip the train on the left. Go into the newly opened area, the armour is at the bottom.

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